Home > 2012, Asana, Holds, New Holds!, So Ill, Urban Plastix > What I Saw at the Outdoor Retailer Trade Show 2012

What I Saw at the Outdoor Retailer Trade Show 2012

The Urban Plastix booth

Last week on my way home from Squamish Chris and I stopped in Salt Lake City for some meetings at the Outdoor Retailer Summer Trade Show. For those who don’t know, the trade show is a convention center and outlying areas (lawns, other buildings, tents, demo areas, etc…) full of pretty much everything you’ll ever see at any gear shop or online retailer for many many outdoor sports an activities including climbing, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, camping, slack lining, and more. There is also some equipment for fishing, base jumping, taking video, some types of cycling, hunting, and more, with everything from socks and fabric companies to jewelry and toys to military equipment.

New BD Cams. Small, like CCH Aliens. Called the X4, aka The Predators. Get it?

The climbing section is fortunately always located on one side of the extremely large convention center so it’s pretty easy to see everything you want to see without walking miles and miles. Unfortunately, they’ve started putting many of the bar companies in BFE, meaning to see Pro Bar, Powerbar, or GU you have to walk literally at least a mile. To see any of the “New Exhibitors”, i.e. those who haven’t been at the show long enough to earn a place inside the main building, you have to walk through the whole show, out the other side, across a street, and into a large white (fortunately air conditioned) tent. Last year I spent some time over there with my friends at Vertical Girl. This year I headed over to see what fairly new hold company Urban Plastix brought to show off.

Urban Plastix expands their line

Urban Plastix new Big Brick Pinches

Urban Plastix Font Holds

Prototype of the UP Brush, a flexible-handle boar’s hair brush that is designed not to break under the stress of brushing. UP demonstrated the flexibility by clipping it backwards into a pair of vice grips. I took it out and it bent back to nearly straight again. Very cool.

Check out their site – Urban Plastix — Welcome


Back in the main area there were only a couple of hold companies. Nicros was there, though I somehow failed to find their booth. Metolius had a new hangboard, which was essentially a larger version of their hold hangboard with more sizes of crimp.

Asana has urethane!

Asana was showing off their urethane holds, which seemed more durable than the resin I’ve seen from them before. Apparently they’ve always had the option to go urethane, but I had never seen nor heard of it before. Here is Asana Guy Adam Healy showing off one of their urethane slopers:

Adam showing off an Asana Sloper

Asana holds are available in resin or urethane, depending on your needs. These look like they’d also glow in the dark.

So Ill goes back to basics!

The last hold company present at the trade show was So Ill.

The So Ill hangboard lineup. The Iron Palm sloper board and the Crimp Reaper crimp board–redesigned for greater strength.

So Ill is now one of the old standbys at trade shows, conferences, and events. They realized early on that to support the industry and get the word out about So Ill they’d need to be present at as many events as possible. I think this is great because they are pumping money back into the industry and also always bring their unique take on things with their ever-evolving line of holds, hangboards, and gear. Plus, they’re fun to hang out with.

So Ill huge simple slot jugs

This year, So Ill showed up with a new line of simple holds. They’re going back to basics to help fill in the gaps in their line of unique and crazy holds. Simple and comfortable is the new So Ill party line, and the jugs and pockets they had at the show definitely seemed to fit the bill. All are poured in their durable urethane. If you have moved away from So Ill  holds in the past because their shapes were too crazy for you, give ’em another look. With the new shapes So Ill now has some of the largest variety in the business.

Speaking of variety, So Ill has a couple of extra-special holds. Push the button, and the hold lights up!

Push the button, and it lights up!

The jug above runs a sequence of lights when the button is pushed. You can see one of ’em now. Another light-up hold says “Clip In” and is lit all the time. It is for helping people remember not to solo next to auto belays, which is apparently a common problem in auto belay equipped gyms. I have a little video of this so we will see if I can upload it. If so I will post.

On top of their holds, So Ill has made some other changes and introduced some more new gear. First off is their take on the boar’s hair toothbrush. This brush has a flexible handle designed not to break and the bristles are a good length and stiffness for hold brushing. I got one and I’ve just started testing it out and so far I am very happy with it.

The new So Ill Brush (bottom) and the prototype Urban Plastix brush. Both have nice flexible strong handles, both boar’s hair, but different sizes and densities of brush head. Which is better? Depends on where and what you are brushing!

For softgoods So Ill has started using recycled billboards. This means that their chalkbags and buckets come in a bunch of different colors and patterns and no two are alike. Never again will you want to leave the boulders because some other climbers is wearing the same bag. Now you know that no matter where you go you’ll be the only one with your bag or bucket. Ha. And their new logo is pretty cool too.


Also also, these bags are less harmful to the environment than traditional new-material bags. Up-cycling!

See the whole line – So iLL Holds

So that’s all for now. More fun setting and Spot info always on the way. Oh yeah, and Team Try-Outs are next weekend, so if you’re under 19 and want to be on the awesome Spot Team come check it out!

  1. John w
    August 11, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    And all of those delicious SoIll holds are now at Red Rock Climbing Center along with a bunch of others from the show- so psyched to set with them!

  2. Jackie
    August 11, 2012 at 1:27 pm


  3. Stonejack
    August 16, 2012 at 2:26 am

    Apparently you missed some really nice companies out there on the show … (which were present I believe) 🙂

  4. Jackie
    August 16, 2012 at 10:01 am

    More hold companies? Who? Where?

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